Father jailed for sickening rape of teenage daughter

AN IPSWICH court has heard how a man groomed his teenage daughter for several months before raping her in acts described as "disgraceful" by a sentencing judge.

On Monday, Ipswich District Court heard the father orally raped his own 14-year old daughter, with his predatory behaviour leaving the victim afraid to leave her room.

Appearing from jail via video-link for sentence, the 36-year-old father of three pleaded guilty to nine domestic violence related charges including rape; six counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16; grooming a child under 16 years with intent to procure engagement in a sexual act; and using the internet to procure children under 16.

All offences were committed between 2018 and 2019.

The offender's name cannot be published, to protect the identity of his victim.

Prosecutor Cameron Wilkins said the man had since spent 20 months held in jail and the Crown sought a four-year jail term for his crime against his biological daughter, with immediate eligibility to apply for parole.

Mr Wilkins said a victim impact statement by her family revealed that her school grades deteriorated, that she had withdrawn socially, and rarely left her room except to eat.

The court heard the offences took place during a 4-1/2 month period when the victim went to live with her father while he was separated from his wife.

No other prosecution facts were provided in the open court.

Judge Dennis Lynch QC later found the prosecution's submission on penalty should have been higher to reflect the gravity of the father's crime.

Defence barrister Clare O'Connor sought a penalty of three to four years jail.

"He has done enough time in custody. There is remorse," Ms O'Connor said.

"He is a person who found it very difficult to admit these things to himself and has used his time in custody to reflect on what he has done.

"He now recognises he is fully responsible."

Ms O'Connor said the man's wife still supported him.

He also instructed her that he had been sexually abused at the age of 10, which had never been diagnosed or acknowledged.

"He cites his family as his motivation in bettering himself in the future and that his focus is going forward," she said.

Judge Lynch sentenced the man to a five-year jail term.

He revealed more of the facts that had not been read out to the court earlier, including that the offending occurred when the victim accompanied her father on an interstate business trip.

There had been sexualised discussion, kissing, and an indecent act of touching for which he apologised.

Judge Lynch said his worst offence was an act of oral rape.

A complaint about his behaviour was made after the daughter told a friend.

Judge Lynch said the father deleted conversations from his phone before police could read them.

"It should be seen as very serious conduct towards your daughter," Judge Lynch said.

"Although the indecent treatment offences are not the worst examples, overall it is very serious conduct toward your daughter for your own sexual gratification.

"She regarded you as her boyfriend, perhaps future fiance.

"Your wife still supports you and her intention is to resume the relationship upon your prison release.

"You have disgracefully abused your position of care for your own sexual gratification."

He sentenced the father to a five-year jail term for rape, concurrent two-year jail terms for the grooming offences, and 18-month jail terms for the indecent treatment offending.

With one-third already served since his arrest in February 2019, he was granted immediate eligibility to begin his application for parole.